Herald Sun - 'Bin Tax' and recycling mess a shock for families

My Opinion Pieces
February 26, 2020

Daniel Andrews’ rubbish announcements this week are going to cost Victorian households a fortune.

Labor will dramatically increase the taxes we all must pay the state government, via local councils, for collecting our domestic waste.

Andrews’ Facebook announcement of Labor’s nonsensical, kerb-cluttering and expensive four-bin recycling system, combined with yesterday’s brazen cash grab – the doubling of the landfill levy – is symptomatic of a government that’s run out of money.

We all knew that when Andrews ran out of money, he’d come after yours.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is the fault of local councils. It’s not. The Labor government is using local councils to collect its “bin tax’’.

This increase will appear on your council rates notice, but it goes straight to the state Treasury coffers.

There has been scant consultation on these announcements with councils. They are responsible for rubbish collection, and they are now grappling to estimate the cost impact on ratepayers, families, pensioners, and concession card holders.

Under current laws, councils cannot increase their rates above a legislated cap, but the state government can force councils to
charge a higher garbage or waste levy, a tax on your rubbish collection, and that is precisely what the state Labor government is doing.

Local government leaders I spoke with yesterday were punching the numbers into their calculators to estimate the impact on households, with one inner eastern urban council estimating a $75 increase per ratepayer per year.

Aside from the increase in the “bin tax’’ the Andrews Labor government hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with the details.

If the Andrews government doesn’t fund the new bins the initial cost of this new scheme could be $145 per ratepayer, as councils believe they will have to foot the bill for at least one new bin per household.

Councils will be left to pass on the cost of the collection service to ratepayers, because recycling contractors will either alter their
bin collection schedules or buy new trucks to manage the doubling of the number of bins they will have to collect.

I spoke with one municipality with 63,000 households, and they are expecting a cost of $3.5 million a year, every year.

Recycling in Victoria is in this mess because the government failed to plan for the inevitability of China and other nations rejecting Australia’s exported waste.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio should have been planning for what to do with Victoria’s recycling if a local contractor left the market and we couldn’t export.

This week we have witnessed from the state government bizarre, rushed announcements with negligible detail.

The government should have been far better prepared, and this should illustrate to Victorians how hopelessly they’ve been served by D’Ambrosio.

One question I’d love to know the answer to is what exactly the point of a separate bin for glass is if we have a container deposit scheme?

I can envisage some people looting bins full of glass so they can trade them in for cash. It could be mayhem on bin night right
around our state.

The Premier is completely out of touch and has no idea of the true cost of living of hard-working Victorian families.

Andrews has deliberately just made it much harder for families because his government failed to have a plan to deal with Victoria’s
booming population and increasing waste.